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Calling in the Next Generation

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I gave birth to my first child on January 15th, at the height of the hungry wolf full moon. All through my pregnancy women have been approaching me to share their epic birthing stories. It is hard to imagine when you are pregnant for the first time that your body is capable of bearing life. When I got my first moon, my mother tried to explain to me the significance of the changes in my body and what it means to be a woman but until you hold your baby in your arms for the first time you don’t realize exactly how incredible women’s bodies are. Every mother has taken this journey - each in their own way - to overcome their fears, test their physical limits and connect with an ancient understanding deep inside.

 

 Many women plan to have hospital births, and for them this feels like the safest and most comfortable option but I had always hoped, prayed and planned for a natural home birth. My mother gave birth to me at an old village site, back home on an island just off Tofino. Visiting the place where I entered the world has always been a source of strength for me and I wanted to be able to give that to my children.

 

The day before I had planned to move myself to the little cabin on the river where I was going to give birth, my midwife called with some concerns about my blood work. She informed me that she would no longer be able to offer me a birth at home and that I would need to be admitted into the hospital where they would most likely decide to induce me early. The likelihood of any risk was small but we had to take the precautions to make sure nothing took a turn for the worse.

 

The shock was overwhelming. Even though everyone had warned me that I needed to stay flexible with my birth plan, I had believed so deeply in my own ability to birth naturally that I was totally unprepared. Overnight we had to accept that a new road was unraveling before us. I am so grateful that we still had the support of our midwife and doula to help us navigate the doctors and tests. Together we were able to weigh the risk against every level of intervention. 


On our second attempt to induce labour I was determined to do whatever it took to bring our baby safely into the world. After a day of mild contractions, they broke my waters which immediately launched me into hard labour. Only 2 and a half hours later my beautiful baby girl flew right out of me and into my armsWhen I first laid eyes on her beautiful heart-shaped vagina, I realized that we were going to be raising a woman. I sang to her my grandma's prayer song and she stopped crying and looked at me with her beautiful dark eyes. We were exhausted but she was happy and healthy and totally perfect.


When I hold my baby girl, it is hard to measure the depth of my emotion. My unconditional love is equaled only by the great responsibility I feel. In the middle of the night when we are struggling to get that last pesky burp out so she can rest, I remind myself of the promises I made to protect and care for her to best of my ability and any fatigue I have melts away. I am so unbelievably honoured that she chose me, and I often cannot fathom that we get to keep her.  

 

I know that this is only the beginning of a journey that will last the rest of my life but instead of worrying about whether or not I will be any good as her mom, I focus on taking things day by day. As she grows, I do my best to listen to her and we agree to figure it out each step together. I feel so blessed that it is my turn to cross this threshold into motherhood. I am so lucky to have such loving support from my partner, our families and my community during this passage. After sprinting through most of my life at break-neck speed, for the first time I want time just to stop... I raise my hands to creation in gratitude for being given the chance to feel this kind of love. I am humbled and ready to honour her life by sharing with her whatever I have. 

 

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Calling in the Next Generation - mini series 

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Calling in the Next Generation // lino print // Marika Swan 2013

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Young Life Givers // lino print // Marika Swan 2012

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Side Dancers Gift // lino print // Marika Swan 2013

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Category: Next Generations

Created: December 16, 2013

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